Ephraim Parsons was born in 1819 in Tuscarora, Frederick County, Maryland, possibly the son of Isaac (1790-1872).
Ephraim married New York native Ann or Anna Tinkler (1820-1885), and they had at least two children: Ephraim (1847-1927) and Mary (1857-1878).
By 1847 Ephraim and his wife were living in Ohio but by 1857 they had settled in Michigan. (He may have been the same Ephraim W. Parsons who may have been born on October 10, 1812 or 1814, married Sarah E. Laws (b. 1815), on November 27, 1841, in Worcester County, Maryland and who was still living in Worcester County in 1850.) By 1860 Ephraim was working as a farmer and living with his wife and children in Hastings, Barry County. Isaac, who had also been born in Maryland, was living in Hastings in 1860 as well.
Ephraim stood 5’11” with blue eyes, brown hair and a light complexion and was a 45-year-old blacksmith possibly living in Maple Grove, Barry County when he enlisted as a Private in Company F at Grand Rapids on February 8, 1864, for 3 years, and was mustered the same day.
Ephraim did not, apparently, join the Regiment, however, and instead went about recruiting for the regiment, according to one of his recruits, Franklin Green, who was enlisted into company E on February 9, 1864. Indeed, Ephraim was reported in Grand Rapids in March recruiting for the Regiment. On March 8, 1864, the Grand Rapids Eagle wrote that one Sergeant “E. Parsons, of the Third Mich. Infantry, who is recruiting for that command in Barry County, brought to our city last evening, another squad of men -- stalwart volunteers -- to be mustered into Uncle Sam's service. These recruits added to those already brought in make  men that have enlisted in that County during the past few weeks. Good for Sergt. Parsons and Barry County. The work goes bravely on.”
It remains unclear today what was actually going on. In late May of 1864 Captain George See wrote from the draft rendezvous at Jackson to Provost Marshall Norman Bailey at Grand Rapids inquiring about Parsons. He wrote that Ephraim had been “turned over direct to the [Third] Regt at the Rapids and there is no record of him in this office.”
It is not known if Ephraim ever reported for duty with the Third Michigan. He was reported a deserter in November of 1864 at Brandy Station, Virginia, and was eventually returned under the President’s Proclamation of amnesty and subsequently mustered out of service with forfeiture of “all pay and allowances due him or that may accrue to” the time of his muster out. He was discharged on May 3, 1865, at Detroit.
By 1870 Ephraim was working as a teamster and living with his wife Anna in Hastings, Barry County.
By 1880 his widow was living in Carlton, Barry County. (Curiously, Isaac, Anna as well as her two children are all buried in Riverside cemetery, Hastings, but there is no listing for Ephraim Sr.)
No pension seems to be available.